Greyhound puppies must be tattooed before they are 3 months old. The actual imprint of the tattoo for each puppy must be on a "Litter Registration" form and returned to the NGA by the end of 3 months (along with a fee); this is step 3 of 4 in the process of registering a greyhound with the NGA.

The NGA assigns a new litter registration number with each new litter. The left ear of the puppy is tattooed with it's litter registration number; the right ear is tattooed with a combination of numbers and letters that identifies that particular pup. On the right ear (looking from the rear of the pup to its nose), the first number identifies the month in which the pup was born (2=February, 10= October, etc). The second number is the last digit of the year in which the pup was born ( 8=1988, 0=1990, 4=1994, etc.). An alphabetic letter then follows that is meant only for that pup (if the litter contained 7 puppies then the last alphabetic letter utilized would be "G").

Most farms will tattoo pups when they are about 2+ months old. One person will hold the puppy, while the other  tattoos. The tattoo instrument itself is structured like a set of tongs. Little blocks of needle-like pins forming numbers or letters are positioned into one side of the tongs; the other side is like a pad of hard rubber. A retainer can be loosened and the numbers/letters can be changed in the set of tongs. There should be two sets of tongs (numbers/letters are only changed for the right ear set), all numbers and letters are laid out, forms completed as much as possible beforehand, ink bottle in place, rags and alcohol in place, and cleaning solutions in place. Farmers learn how to quiet and distract pups.

The ears are cleansed with a paper towel and alcohol. The feet are then washed as the NGA forms require color of each toenail on each pup. . The numbers/letters are prepared in the tongs, the NGA form is filled out for that pup, the NGA form is imprinted with the tattoo, the ink bottle is ready and the pup is prepared to be tattooed.  The pup is positioned without binding, gently lifting the chin, and the opposite ear is rubbed and played with to provide distraction. The ear to be tattooed is turned back, green ink is rolled from the applicator bottle onto the pup's ear, the pup's ear is positioned between the tongs and the squeeze is initiated quickly.  The needle-like pins press the ear and the pup will yelp.  Some pups scream, some fight, some bite, some do nothing but look around confused.  The tongs are released while making sure that nothing is within biting-range of the pup.  The ink is rolled onto the tattoo and rubbed in with the thumb. Once pup is quieted down, the second set of tongs are obtained, pup is positioned and the process is repeated. 

The pup is tattooed!

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Farm Life | First 4 Months | Tattooing | Vaccinations | 5-11 Months | 12-18 Months | Registering a Greyhound

Courtesy of Wendy Hamilton and the GRA.